Singapore Airlines’ first Airbus A350-900 has successfully completed its maiden flight over the skies of South West France.
The aircraft will now enter the final phase of production, including further ground checks and test flights, before being prepared for delivery to SIA in the coming weeks. Singapore Airlines will become the second Asian carrier to fly the A350, after Vietnam Airlines, and the fifth A350 operator in the world.
The A350 XWB is set to form the backbone of Singapore Airlines’ future mid-size widebody fleet, with the airline so far ordering 67 of the aircraft. The new long-haul aircraft will gradually replace the older A330-300 and B777-200 aircraft.
The A350-900 is designed for long-range flights, with an option to upgrade to ultra-long range capability for flights of up to 19 hours. This will allow SIA to resume direct flights to the US, a route previously operated with A340-500 aircraft that was dropped in 2013 due to high fuel costs and low load factors.
The A350 XWB is the world’s latest generation airliner and the newest member of Airbus’ widebody family. It features an aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
Together, these innovations equal a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs.
Airbus has total of 777 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 41 customers worldwide, including Qatar Airways, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, United Airlines and Japan Airlines. Current operators of the A350 are Qatar Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Finnair and TAM.